Passing a blessing for Rams, curse for Lions


PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) -- For the St. Louis Rams, remaining the
NFL's only unbeaten team was as simple as pitch and catch.

Kurt Warner pitched touchdown passes caught by Az-Zahir Hakim,
Torry Holt and Ernie Conwell. Cornerback Dre' Bly caught also, an
interception off Ty Detmer he returned 93 yards for a score.

The result was an easy 35-0 victory Monday night over the
winless Detroit Lions.

"I don't care at all about balance," said St. Louis coach Mike
Martz, whose team ran only three times in the first half and threw
21 times as it took a 21-0 lead. "The dink passes were really

It was hard to tell if the Rams (4-0) were good or the Lions
(0-3) were bad in a game that was really never in doubt after
Warner threw first-half touchdown passes of 15 yards to Hakim and
36 yards to Holt. Those scores capped two drives in which Warner
threw 16 straight times, almost all of them underneath a Detroit
secondary protecting against the deep pass.

"You know Kurt, he'll get you the ball," Holt said. "You just
have to make sure you get in the right spot."

For Detroit, the story was simple.

"We got zero points. Zero," coach Marty Mornhinweg said. "It
was a brutal offensive game."

In the second half, Mornhinweg replaced Detmer, intercepted
seven times by Cleveland in Detroit's last game, with Charlie
Batch, whom Detmer had replaced after a 28-6 opening-week loss in
Green Bay. Batch had no better luck -- he completed his first two
passes, but his third was intercepted in the end zone by Dexter

Then, after driving the Lions 55 yards to the St. Louis 8, Batch
was sacked by Leonard Little and fumbled. The ball was recovered by
Grant Wistrom, who returned the ball for an apparent touchdown, but
the Rams were penalized for running on the field after the recovery
and the touchdown was nullified.

"It just felt good to get in," said Batch, who was 11-of-16
for 113 yards. "I'm just disappointed that we didn't score."

It really didn't matter.

So easy was it for the Rams to pass on a Lions secondary minus
Bryant Westbrook, recovering from a torn Achilles' tendon, that
Warner was 16-of-21 for 197 yards in the first half. He finished
29-of-37 for 291 yards.

Detmer was 15-of-18 for 149 yards, a deceptive figure if there
ever was one.

The second half was anticlimactic.

The Rams scored twice in the final quarter on Warner's third TD
pass, a 1-yarder to Conwell, and a 6-yard run by Marshall Faulk.

"The beauty of the game is that the same thing doesn't always
work," said Faulk, who ran just 14 times for 71 yards and had nine
catches for 80 yards. "Some days you just want to run the ball.
Today throwing it was working. Stats and percentages don't matter.
Points matter."

The Rams took a 7-0 lead with 3:30 left in the first quarter on
Warner's pass to Hakim at the end of an 80-yard drive that took 10
plays, all passes. The 15-yard scoring play was a 5-yard flip over
the line to Hakim, who sidestepped Jimmy Wyrick and danced in.

It was like most of the drive -- short hitches and outs
underneath the Detroit defense.

The first time Warner went deep was on the next series, hitting
Holt from 36 yards behind Ron Rice to make it 14-0 2:29 into the
second quarter.

Even when the Detroit offense moved, it ultimately failed.

Late in the second quarter, it drove from its own 38 to the St.
Louis 16. But Detmer threw off his back foot right to Bly, who took
it 93 yards untouched to make it 21-0.

Game notes
Faulk lost a fumble for the first time since 1999, a
stretch of 502 handles without losing the ball. ... The Lions
turned over the ball three times inside the St. Louis 30. ... St.
Louis cornerback Aeneas Williams left the game in the first quarter
with a pinched nerve in his neck. He returned in the second half.
... Detroit fans became so bored in the second half that they began
chanting "Let's Go Red Wings." ... Next week's Monday night game
is Washington (0-4) at Dallas (0-4), the first time ever this late
in the season two winless teams have met on Monday night. ... This
was the Rams' first shutout since moving from Los Angeles to St.
Louis in 1995. Detroit was shut out for the first time since 1993.


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